Part VII of this incredible interview with “Mighty” Ivan Robinson continues.
By Boxing Reporter and Writer Chris Cercola
In part VI Ivan dealt with the 1st Gatti fight. In this next part he talks about his 2nd Gatti fight plus so much more!
Another thing, I want to go back to the fighters nowadays, a lot of them wanna be protected, but they wanna be protected in the wrong way, a lot of them are making the sport not compatible, like, you know I love Mayweather, I love him to death, I remember back maybe 12 years ago, I seen him in I think it was New York or Atlantic City, I don’t remember which it was, but I was looking for another big fight, and I’ll never forget it, we asked Roger May weather for a fight, and Roger was like, “You got a couple of losses, but you still dangerous, we won’t fight you.” So you know, to a point, thank you, I was still being looked at, and people understood me, but when you got a fighter going around picking and choosing they fights, who they wanna fight and how they wanna, It’s crazy. But boxing has so many failings, and then it has so many goods, so you don’t know which way to take it.
Mayweather-Pacquiao is a fight we all waiting to see happen, why isn’t it happening? Then we looked at Gatti and Mayweather, why did that fight even happen? I mean why, for what reason? I give my man all the credit in the world, Gatti’s my man; I love him to death, why did he need to take that fight? It was no way in the world that he thought he was gonna land a big shot on Mayweather, I mean honestly. Mayweather’s better than I am, at this point right now. At that time he fought Gatti, he was just a little bit better than me, I done went down the wrong road, but why would Gatti even fight May weather when Gatti couldn’t even knock me out, but it is what it is, things happen for a reason.
I think the fighters gotta be true to the sport, and a lot of fighters just aren’t true to the sport. You get all these guys fighting these guys, for what reason, for no reason. Some of these guys getting the same money, some of ‘em ain’t getting the money. You have to look at it for what it is, boxing is a great sport, I love it to death, I’m always gonna love it, even though I’m not in it like I used to be, but I still love the sport, but let’s just keep the sport alive, let’s do the right thing.
You got a hundred belts out here. If I did train my son to be a fighter, I’m only gonna train him for one reason, to get a belt that’s out here, and he could fight anyone for any belt. You talking about the IBF, WBC, WBA, they are the only three main belts in the world and USBA, NABF. When did the IBC come in at? When did the WBO come in at? When did the NABF come in at? When did the NBAO come in at? I mean all these titles man, It’s crazy! The WBFI belt, where are these belts coming from? Are they really making any money from these titles?
Then another thing that got me mad going into that second fight, was that when we sat there, and they interviewed us before the fight, he took so long to come downstairs, it was crazy. We sitting there waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and he took so long to come downstairs. When he came downstairs, they asked him about the fight, and I’ll never forget, I thanked him for giving me that shot, because that’s something we don’t have nowadays, everybody calls themselves a champ, everybody wanna be a champ…Alright well, champions fight good guys, or champions fight number one guys. They not champions if they win a fight with the number 35 guy and there’s no way the guy could win unless he get a lucky shot…If you are a champion, I think it’s, you got 90 days to settle for a fight, alright take an easy fight, then fight the number one guy, but don’t skip it, and fight another 35 guy…That’s just not happening, so I take my hat off to Gatti ‘cause no matter what, Gatti didn’t care, he would fight you, ‘cause Gatti knew his ability. Gatti knew what he could do, Gatti knew what he brought to each fight, and the thing of it was, if he caught you with that left hook, and you didn’t have a good chin, you was going night night, I’ll never forget that, my man Chris Byrd brought that to my attention in like ‘91 when Shane Mosley and Vernon Forrest first fought, and everybody was hollering Shane Mosley, and Vernon Forrest was like a new kid on the block, and Vernon hit Shane with that right hand that he hit him with as a pro, and knocked his butt out with it…Chris Byrd said it was nighty night, boy, and I never forgot that, so Gatti was just that dude but he was a lovable guy. He was a fun guy to get along with, he was not a disrespectful dude, and he was just a lovable dude, and I love him to death.
Him and Pernell Whitaker grew a real great relationship, and me and Pernell grew one too, but our relationship wasn’t as great as Gatti’s. He used to teach Gatti things. If you get a protégé that’s a good kid and you like him, you teach him certain things, and one thing I noticed about Pernell, at times, in his fights, he’d hit you with all–like Bernard (Hopkins) do–he hit you on the hip where your cup at, and he slow you down, and that’s one thing I like about Pernell. Pernell was a master at the game, so he did things. When Pernell want to slow you down, ‘cause he wasn’t a big puncher neither, but Pernell was a better puncher than me ‘cause he could get you out of there, but to slow you down, if you was real effective like that, Pernell would hit you on the hips.
In the second fight, Gatti hit me on the hips a lot, he hit me low a couple of times, and you know, it took a toll on you, and one thing about it is, when you in a fight, your adrenaline is going so high, that a lot of things that happen to you, like if you get hit in the back where your ribs at, it won’t bother you right then because your adrenaline is going so fast, but when you stop, or you take a breather, that pain comes, and as soon as that second fight was over with, we had talked about a third fight, but I knew that wasn’t gonna happen. People had said to me, “Ivan, why you didn’t lose that second fight so you and Gatti could fight a third time and make more money?”….Well at that time, that money I had got on the second fight was just enough money to calm me down, to break all my worries, to do whatever it is I needed to do later, that I wasn’t even thinking about losing to Gatti. I wasn’t gonna lose to this guy, you crazy, you out you mind, so my thing was to beat him again, but in beating him, I paid a price for it, and the price was, after the fight was over with, we said our just dues, we love each other, ain’t gonna be no third fight, then I went and sat with the media, talked to the media, I had to go sit my butt in a tub of ice, ‘cause I was pissing blood.
They thought they was gonna have to take me to Atlantic City medical, man, I don’t wanna go there, Gatti already got a room there, I’m cool, but my trainer was Bouie Fisher at the time, he’s an old veteran and had Bernard Hopkins from the time Bernard turned pro, and he said, “Robinson, I don’t know what you gonna do, but you about to sit in some ice.”, I’m like, “What?”, he said, “Sit in some ice…Alright you go in there and watch TV and I’ll be back.” We had a suite, he called me to the bathroom, he had a tub full of ice and he like, “Sit in there.”…I said, “What, nah uh!” he said,”Alright, sit in there!” I said, “No”, his old ass pushed me in the tub! I damn near froze in that joint! When I got out that tub, and they made me sit in there for like a hour, when I got out that thing man, I turned the heat on full blast, and it was already hot cause we fought in August. I was like a sickle, I was just so cold but it helped, it took all the swelling down.
You know, I don’t hate Gatti, I still love him, I know in desperate needs you gonna do whatever you gonna need to do to get whatever you gotta get, and it was desperate needs for him ‘cause there was no way he was gonna win that fight, he was gonna have to stab me or shoot me to win that fight. After that fight, we went to the restaurant and we ate, and we became friends after that. After the first Gatti fight, I wanted to get away, wanted to go to Mexico, but they already planned the rematch so I had people watching me, making sure I didn`t leave town, nobody wanted to risk an injury ‘cause too much money was on the line for the rematch.
After that second fight, we go to Mexico, it was crazy, we gets off the plane, now, we in the States, but Mexicans are tough, and they love great fighters. I didn’t think they was big Gatti fans, but a lot of them was mad ‘cause we beat him, but when I got off the plane, I had a big cake that said, “Champ”…It was a glove made of chocolate, I even took a picture of it. It was great, you know, they loved me .Although I paid for everything up front, I think I got more than what I paid for, but I ain’t wilding about it, it was what it was, but it was a good thing, they took care of me, made sure I had a great time.
I never told anybody this, but when he fought Gomez, I had retired, well; I had pretty much not wanted to fight no more. Nobody knew that I had retired ‘cause I didn’t announce it or nothing like that, it’s like right now, I guess by me being out for so long, people will figure that I’m retired, but to make a long story short, I had retired when Gatti fought Gomez, I didn’t like that fight, I felt that was a bad fight for Gatti because Gomez was young. He really didn’t have a whole lot of natural ability, he was just a workhorse, he could punch a little bit, and he was a young Gatti in the attributes of intensity level being so high, but he couldn’t punch like Gatti. I still thought it was a bad fight, I didn’t like it and when he knocked Gatti out, I wanted to fight Gomez, I really did, to defend Gatti, I wanted to fight Gomez, but I wasn’t in no shape, and I didn’t wanna take the fight just because Gatti had to lose, and if I was gonna take that fight, I was gonna destroy Gomez…I just didn’t wanna do it no more, I think I trained for like a week, week and a half and then I said to myself, “I gotta do the same thing again for the next couple of weeks!”…My mind and my body just went dead so I just said, “Forget it, I’m not gonna do it”. I didn’t wanna avenge it, but we grew a pretty good relationship.
I was pretty mad that he went and fought with Micky Ward that was crazy. I was mad that Micky Ward drew so much attention off them Gatti fights because even though Micky Ward was a great fighter, I take nothing away from Micky Ward, I think him and Micky Ward are both the same guys, they`re just tough, strong, bulldozers, I think that me and Micky Ward should of fought. I called Micky Ward after the second Gatti fight and asked him to fight, Micky Ward said, “You`re crazy”.
I took the Angel Manfredy fight for all the wrong reasons but I thought that I could beat Angel. Angel still had a little left in him than what I did, no, I don’t even think he had a little more than what I did, I think I just prepared wrong. I was coming off the highs from the Gatti fights, he was just coming off the loss to Floyd May weather, so it was definitely a great fight on paper. It didn’t turn out the way it was supposed to. I thought it was at a bad venue, I mean we fought in Idaho, and then we fought it outside. It was about 500 degrees outside, we fought under the tent. John Brown fought Shane Mosley that day, they was trying to get me to fight Shane Mosley, but I didn’t wanna take i.e. figured if I could beat Angel Manfredy, then me and Shane could fight, so you know, I had a whole bunch of opportunities to do things, but I just wasn’t where I was supposed to be at the time that those fights happened. I had a phenomenal career. If I could find a fighter to have half the career that I had, and do half of the things that I’ve done, I think I’ve rewrote history.
Fighting Antonio Diaz was out of my character, he was a bigger dude. Boxing can teach you a lot, you can learn a lot about boxing, and even my early fights, I learned a lot, and one thing I wanna do, if I could get me a good fighter, I wanna teach him everything. I don’t wanna be the type of trainer that doesn’t wanna help a young guy. I remember one time, I’ll never forget my old trainer, Leon Tabbs, well not my trainer, my cutman, me and him were having a discussion one day, I love him to death, but that made me kind of…Not dislike him, or not want to talk to him, or not wanna be friends with him no more, but it made me like destruct with him, like, why, he said to me, “I’ll train fighters, and I’ll teach them things that need to be taught, but I’ll never teach a fighter everything I know.”…Why? For what reason? Why wouldn’t you? I mean, you are actually telling me that you’ll go to your grave, dead, knowing that you could of taught this fighter something? I mean that’s crazy, that’s like you and me going to our grave with a million dollars…For what, it’s not gonna be worth shit. When I go to my grave, I wanna go the same way I came into this world, with nothing, but I’m actually not gonna go with nothing, ‘cause I got my kids, so I’m still gonna have some type of legacy. When I came into this world, I came in with nothing except for my mom and my dad.
The Ivan Robinson chronicles will continue so stay tuned for the next part.
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